Match ends, Reading 2, Barnsley 0.
Reading brought Barnsley's Championship resurgence to a halt as goals from Yakou Meite and George Puscas gave them a long-awaited home league victory.
Meite bundled in their opener from close range as Barnsley failed to clear a free-kick before Puscas curled a shot past Bradley Collins on the hour to make it 2-0.
The Tykes failed to make the most of a number of first-half chances and may have found themselves ahead on another day had Reading goalkeeper Rafael not made some smart saves.
Cauley Woodrow was denied by his best on the stroke of half-time as he tipped an effort over the crossbar.
Barnsley saw their run of three straight wins come to an end and are five points adrift of safety while Reading recorded their first home win in the Championship since 26 December.
That win will give the Royals a welcome boost heading into their FA Cup fifth round home tie against Premier League Sheffield United on Tuesday after they were humbled on the same ground by Wigan on Wednesday.
Barnsley arrived in Berkshire buoyed by consecutive wins against Fulham, Middlesbrough and Hull. But they were punished for wasting a number of good openings in both halves.
Jacob Brown, Connor Chaplin and Woodrow all went close to scoring, but failed to hit the target before testing the impressive Rafael.
As they looked to be pressing for a leveller, Romania striker Puscas pounced to net his ninth league goal of the campaign after breaking free from halfway before producing a quality finish.
Results elsewhere also mean the Tykes are only off the bottom on goal difference after Luton drew against Stoke. Reading stay 16th but their win is just their second in the league since the turn of the year.
Reading manager Mark Bowen told BBC Radio Berkshire:
"I'm still scarred a bit by the result and performance on Wednesday night, so today for me was not so much about the performance but getting the win to calm things down.
"It's been too long between league wins at home and it was clear that we weren't free-flowing. For long periods of time we were sloppy and casual.
"But this league is as it is and before the game, I thought it would come down to small moments.
"The first goal was scrappy, but it just gave us that breathing space and we were then able to build on that for the rest of the game."
Barnsley head coach Gerhard Struber:
"Some players were only at 90 per cent - or lower - and that was not enough so that you can win this match.
"The last games for us were very hard and I think that we lost energy from them.
"In a normal situation, I think that we can bring more intensity.
"But we had no intensity, no high-speed running. This was my feeling.
"It was not difficult for our opponent and this was the problem for us. Without this energy, it was just not enough."
- 33Cabral Barbosa
- 19MeiteSubstituted forMcClearyat 64'minutes
- 10SwiftSubstituted forTuncará Gomesat 79'minutes
- 21OliseSubstituted forMasikaat 71'minutes
- 47PuscasBooked at 61mins
- 29Tuncará Gomes
- 18SollbauerBooked at 54mins
- 2WilliamsBooked at 42mins
- 17RitzmaierSubstituted forBähreat 57'minutes
- 27MowattBooked at 39mins
- 22OduorSubstituted forThomasat 45'minutes
- 11ChaplinSubstituted forSchmidtat 57'minutes
- 28Simoes Inacio
- Jeremy Simpson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Reading 2, Barnsley 0.
Attempt missed. Luke Thomas (Barnsley) left footed shot from outside the box is too high.
Jacob Brown (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jordan Obita (Reading).
Hand ball by Jordan Williams (Barnsley).
Attempt missed. Alex Mowatt (Barnsley) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Cauley Woodrow.
Foul by Mike-Steven Bähre (Barnsley).
Garath McCleary (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Jacob Brown (Barnsley) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left.
Attempt blocked. Patrick Schmidt (Barnsley) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Jacob Brown (Barnsley) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Luke Thomas.
Attempt missed. Luke Thomas (Barnsley) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Aapo Halme with a headed pass.
Attempt missed. Cauley Woodrow (Barnsley) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.
Cauley Woodrow (Barnsley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Garath McCleary (Reading).
Attempt missed. Patrick Schmidt (Barnsley) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Mike-Steven Bähre.
Attempt missed. Mike-Steven Bähre (Barnsley) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.
Substitution, Reading. Pelé replaces John Swift.
Attempt missed. Cauley Woodrow (Barnsley) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.